A Cool Vacation Rule That Works (Pre-GroupWise 2012)


Note: If you're using GroupWise 2012, you're in luck. Setting a Vacation Rule has been supremely simplified. Read Setting a Vacation "Out of Office Rule" in GroupWise 2012.

Posted: 22 Jul 2004

Note: These instructions work for GroupWise 6, 7, and 8.

All right, we've covered rules in the past but we thought you could use some refresher kinds of stuff. Here's one neat way (there are lots of ways, some good, some bad, some indifferent; this is one of the good ways) to set up an effective GroupWise vacation rule.

Click here for other suggestions for this rule.

  1. Click Tools > Rules > New. Type a name for the rule, something like "Useful, Re-Usable Vacation Rule."

  2. Make sure that under When Event Is, New Item is selected, and Received is selected.

  • Under Item Types, select the item types you care about. If you don't want your auto-reply to go out to appointment setters, don't select appointments. Hey, it's your rule.

  • Click Define Conditions. Here's the tricky part. This is where the meat of the rule lives.

    1. In the first pop-up menu, click All Fields, then find and click Delivered.

  • In the next pop-up menu, select On or After Date, then in the next box, replace the date that appears (probably today's date, which is just GroupWise trying to be helpful) with the date you're leaving for Fiji.

  • In the last pop-up menu, click And to start another row, 'cuz we're not done yet.

  • This row will be a lot like the first one, but will define the end of your vacation. In the first pop-up menu, click Delivered, which should now exist in the pop-up without you're having to go find it.

  • In the next pop-up, click On or Before Date, then in then next box, replace the date with the day you're returning from Fiji. See, now you've defined the period of your vacation, so that even if you forget to disable this rule when you get back, GroupWise will stop messing with your mail. You can change these dates any time to re-use the rule.

  • In the last pop-up menu of the second row, click And to start yet another row.

  • In the new row (the third row), click To in the first pop-up menu, leave Contains in the second, then type your e-mail address in the next box. This ensures that only e-mail sent directly to you, unlike e-mail sent to you by way of list servers and whatnot, will be affected by the rule. And now, in the last pop-up menu, once again, click And to start one last row.

  • In the first pop-up menu, click From, click Does Not Contain in the second menu, and in the third box, again, type your e-mail address. This ensures that you won't get caught in some insane loop with yourself. That would suck. Leave End in the last pop-up menu of this last row, then click OK.

  • Go down to Then Actions Are, and click Add Action, Reply. Make sure Reply to Sender is selected, then click OK.

  • Type your "I'm in Fiji and you're not" message, then click OK.

  • Click Save, then Close. That's it, you're done.

Here's the cool part. This rule works only during the dates specified in the rule itself. Activate it, then forget about it until you go on vacation again. When you're ready, type new dates in the conditions rows, and in the auto-reply, instead of Fiji, type Rio.

Other Suggestions:

Craig Price

John Jakus

Jonny Shenton

Rob Brown

Danielle Reed

Tim Hodges

Michael Moss

  • Craig Price

    We have also setup in our vacation rules: "Does not include Re: or RE: in the Subject line". This stops the endless loop with other employees also using a holiday rule.

  • John Jakus

    I was going to be out of the office for several weeks and played
    around with some rules. I didn't want a rule that would inform senders external to the company about my absence. I tried to write a rule that stated:

    Reply only if the From contains the "@" but Groupwise would not except

    I finally wrote a rule that stated:

    1. On New Items

  • Type All

  • From Does Not Contain

    a. com

    b. net

    c. org

    d. gov

    e. US

  • Reply with I will be out of office message

This rule ensured that I did not reply to external company
users or spam.

  • Jonny Shenton

    I saw your rule on Cool Solutions and it is very similar to mine however I have a couple of other parts to it.

    I recommend to my users that they append to the subject auto-reply and add a condition that the subject doesn't contain auto-reply.
    This avoids most kinds of mail loops within the rule.

    I also recommend a second rule matching addresses from mailing lists etc that they wouldn't want to reply to with a stop rule processing above the holiday rule. (I have servers e-mail me logs etc.)

  • Rob Brown

    To help keep those dreaded loops from other auto-responders to a minimum, I also include the following in my rules:

    Subject - does not include - re:

    Subject - does not include - autoreply

    otherwise, you and someone else who is also on vacation could be sending messages back and forth the entire time your are gone.

  • Danielle Reed

    I don't know about you, but I have an active job where I can't sit on top of every e-mail that comes in. During especially busy times, there may be a whole day (or more) that I can't check, and then I get bogged down with upwards of 100 messages to sort through in between everything else. Many fellow technicians have the same problem. For that reason, I receive (and send) late replies to a message from a previous e-mail. So, as Mr. Price and Mr. Brown suggest, excluding Re: or RE: might not let a crucial person know that I am out of the office. Hence, another way to prevent looping would be to include a rule that specifies:

    • Number of days between replies to repeat senders, or

  • Number of times to send a vacation message to the same address, or

  • Use an uncommon word in the Subject line, and exclude it (Or exclude your entire subject line).

Additionally, excluding "US" in the From field, may exclude names such as Gus, Houston, Ferguson, Russell, Gustafson, Susan, Argus, Galusha - you get the picture. Making it case sensitive wouldn't work, either, since a lot of people use all caps.

Also, why not create separate messages for internal vs. external senders. To create a message to internal senders, include only your own domain (as wwcc.edu) - or exclude everything but your domain - for the message that you want to go to them.

Then, add a NOT statement to Mr. Jakus' list that includes your domain, and create a different message to go to legitimate external contacts who may be trying to schedule an appointment with you during the time in which you will be in Fiji (or Cabo, or...)

Finally, be sure to include at least one internal contact who will be covering for you while you're gone.

  • Tim Hodges

    I use basically the same rule as you have put down here. But in order to exclude email from the internet, I have added the line 'View Name' does not contain Internet. This filters out all email that come through your GWIA and excludes it from your reply rule.

  • Michael Moss

    To eliminate replying to outside e-mail just include Does Not Contain
    (drop the quote marks when you use the period). Unless your internal address book contains dots this should take care of every internet based e-mail.

    Thanks, and feel free to let us know if you have other improvements to this rule. We're not proud, we'll post better solutions as they come in.

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